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Bruin Varsity Boys Earn Opening Week League Split
Doubled up by Hughson in their Tans-Valley League opener on the road, the Riverbank varsity Bruin boys stormed back with a solid home effort to go 1-1 to kick off the league campaign.

The boys were at Hughson on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and lost a 60-30 decision to the Huskies, who were fresh off the tournament title run in the Oakdale Rotary Classic Holiday Basketball Tournament. The Huskies kept up their relentless pressure, running out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and leading 29-14 at the half.

Hoping to see improvement in the second half, head coach Jeff Jennings found his team handcuffed by the smothering defense, and the host team outscored Riverbank 22-2 in the third quarter, essentially putting the game away.

But the bright spot is that the Bruins kept battling, and went on a 14-9 run in the fourth.

Lucas Pope had 15 points on the night, including one 3-pointer, with Robert Lopez adding seven.

Riverbank hit 11-of-18 free throws while the Huskies sank just 2-of-13, but the home team hit 26 buckets from the floor to make the difference.

Both the Bruin JV and freshman teams did come away with wins.

On their home court to host Ripon Christian on Friday, Jan. 4, the Bruins stayed just a couple of points ahead, leading 11-8 after one, 20-19 at the half. After an even third, the host team turned their game up a notch and outscored RC by 22-10 over the final eight minutes, wining the game 54-43.

Key to the win were Pope and Francisco Pineda, with Pope hitting a couple of key 3-pointers in the pivotal fourth quarter and Pineda remaining cool from the line, sinking 5-of-6 free throws in that final frame alone. He had 15 points total on the night, with Pope chipping in 13 overall. Robert Lopez contributed eight.

The varsity boys stand at 1-1 in league after the opening week split. They were scheduled to host Ripon on Tuesday, Jan. 8 after The News went to press and play host to Escalon on Friday, Jan. 11 with the frosh kicking things off at 5 p.m.

Ripon Christian's JV boys got past the Bruins in the Jan. 4 contest, while the Riverbank freshmen won.